- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

Role of religion

Republican Bobby Jindal had a big moment Tuesday. The national response he gave to President Obama’s speech “could be the launching pad for a 2012 presidential run. If the Louisiana governor runs for President in 2012, he’ll have a lot going for him. Fiscal conservatives love him, social conservatives love him and he would literally be a fresh face for the GOP. … Plus, he has the intellectual heft to go up against President Obama. But there’s one incident from his past that may scare some folks.

”In 1994 when Jindal was in his early 20’s he wrote an article entitled, ‘Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare.’ In it he describes being present for what many would refer to as a spiritual exorcism. It involved his best friend at the time ‘Susan.’ It is a truly captivating read, full of talk of demons, screaming, praying, crosses, peace, etc. In many ways the whole experience left Jindal with more questions than answers but you can bet that if Jindal runs this topic will come up big time.

”I’m sure some will read this and afterwards try to label Jindal as someone with strange religious views. But in typical Jindal fashion, he dissects the situation intellectually. He experienced something that clearly had a major impact in his life. Now if he does run for president, this incident will be under the microscope, and he’ll be put on the couch by the mainstream media.”

-David Brody, writing on “Bobby Jindal’s Story about Demons and Spiritual Warfare,” on Feb. 24 at CBN News’ Brody File

Legion’s future

”There is great good here [in the Legion of Christ], as there is among the faithful members of Regnum Christi. The question now is, how shall that good be saved [in the wake of acknowledged sexual misconduct by Legion founder Marcial Maciel]?

”It can only be saved if there is full, public disclosure of Fr. Maciel’s perfidies and if there is a root-and-branch examination of possible complicity in those perfidies within the Legion of Christ. That examination must be combined with a brutally frank analysis of the institutional culture in which those perfidies and that complicity unfolded. Only after that kind of moral and institutional audit has been conducted, and has been seen publicly to be a clean audit, can the Legion of Christ, and the broader Church, face the questions of the Legion’s future - which are, candidly, open questions … .

“To take an image from corporate law, the Legion of Christ must be immediately put into receivership: A personal delegate, appointed by the pope, must be empowered to take over the governance of the Legion of Christ and to conduct the moral and institutional audit required. The papal delegate would be instructed to report his findings, both interim and final, to the pope alone, and he would be instructed to make recommendations (again, to the pope alone) addressing the possible futures, including dissolution or dissolution-and-reconstitution, of the Legion.”

-George Weigel, writing on “Saving What Can Be Saved,” on Feb. 9 at First Things

Evil, schmevil

”I do not see why, at this stage in our technological development, we cannot survive as a race despite dabbling in the depths of unspeakable evil. We certainly do seem to have passed the stage at which stupidity is no longer a bar to successful procreation; in fact, right now, stupidity and vice seem to enjoy a slight but noticeable premium in the reproductive economy.

”No, if we must call the Turk’s murder of the child before its mother evil, we will have to do better than to spin out fanciful stories of why we came to believe that such a thing was bad … We must confront the evil of the act, right here, right now, in its perversity, or in its pure privative ‘being.’

”So the first response to the rhetorician who asks, ‘What about all the evil in the world?’ is to turn on him with eyes of steel. ‘What evil can you possibly be talking about?’ It is a version of what the charlatan Bible salesman says to Hulga-Joy in [Flannery O’Connor’s] ‘Good Country People,’ after he’s left that scoffer up a hayloft without her wooden leg. ‘I been believing in nothing all my life!’ You had better not touch that sword, scoffer, till you know how it cuts - and whom.”

- Anthony Esolen, writing on “The Problem of Everything,” on Feb. 21 at Touchstone magazine’s blog Mere Comments

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